Sesame Chicken

Sesame Chicken is one of those “you know it’s wrong, but it’s so right” classic take out dishes. The snob in you says: It’s junk. It lacks sophistication. It’s not authentic.

You crave it.

it’s the perfect American Chinese dish. It’s sweet and crunchy. Salty with soy sauce and a little tiny bit exotic from the addition of a healthy dose of toasted sesame oil. The kid will eat it, but the truth is, you want it too.

It’s a pretty straightforward preparation, the key lies in getting the chicken chunks crispy so that they’ll stand up to the sauce – a trick accomplished by simply using a decent proportion of cornstarch in the breading.

Enjoy this sesame chicken with white rice, or as part of a make it yourself take out feast along with General Tso’s Chicken and Kung Pao Chicken.

Sesame Chicken

Recipe by DrewCourse: MainCuisine: Chinese, AmericanDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time



A simple and delicious version of the classic Chinese American takeout Sesame Chicken.


  • Marinade
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • 2 tbsp cornstarch

  • 1 tbsp soy sauce

  • 1 tbsp water

  • Breading
  • 1 cup AP Flour

  • ¼ cup cornstarch

  • 1 tsp kosher salt

  • 2 tsp baking powder

  • Sauce
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

  • 2 tbsp rice vinegar

  • 4 tbsp chicken stock

  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

  • 2 tbsp honey

  • 1 tsp toasted sesame seed oil

  • 1 tsp cornstarch

  • 2 tbsp water

  • 1 tsp sesame seeds


  • Marinade the Chicken
  • In a non-reactive bowl, mix cornstarch and soy into a smooth batter.
  • Cut chicken into 1-to-2-inch pieces, and add to the batter, tossing and massaging the mixture to coat the chicken completely.
  • Allow the chicken to rest in the marinade at least 20 minutes .
  • Bread and Fry The Chicken
  • Set your fryer/frying setup to 375 degrees
  • Mix the breading well in a covered container.
  • Give the marinade-soaked chicken a good stir to recoat any pieces.
  • Using a single hand (keeping a “wet” and a “dry” hand makes the process much easier and cleaner), drop a few pieces at a time into the breading mixture and cover, shaking vigorously to coat well.
  • Remove the pieces with your “dry” hand.
  • Set the breaded pieces on a sheet pan with a rack and continue to bread all of the remaining pieces.
  • Put the sheet pan in the refrigerator, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the breading to hydrate .
  • Fry at 375° until browned.
  • Prepare the Sauce and Finish
  • Add soy, rice vinegar, chicken stock, cayenne, honey, and sesame oil to a pan.
  • Bring to a simmer.
  • Mix water and cornstarch, and add to the sauce, whisking to combine well.
  • Simmer until slightly thickened.
  • To finish, briefly fry chicken for a second time to re-crisp and heat it through – about a minute – , and then toss well with sauce.
  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds and sliced green onion.
  • Serve with steamed white rice.

Be sure to check out my other food project, The Weekly Menu!

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